So long Kurt Vonnegut Jr…

Slaughterhouse 5Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday after suffering a head injury in his home last week.

I first encountered Vonnegut in high school when I read one of his short stories and discovered he had named a character McGarvey.  After that I went on a Vonnegut binge reading everything of his that was in print.

I loved the way in which he transcended conventional genres such as science fiction, riffing on themes such as alien invasion and time travel and creating something literarily unique.

My favourite Vonnegut novel has to be Slaughterhouse Five and its hero, Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time.  Slaughterhouse Five was both wildly unhinged and deeply moving.  Vonnegut incorporated his real life experience as a prisoner of war during the Allied bombing of Dresden.

While Vonnegut enjoyed huge success in the 1970s, he continued to produce mind blowing fiction and incisive essays up to today.

When I was in film school, my buddies and I named our production company Ramjac after a corporation that appeared in several of Vonnegut’s novels.  We, sadly, had to abandon the name because Vonnegut himself was using it as his company name.

I like to think that Vonnegut is out there now, moving from memory to memory and time to time.  Have a great trip Kurt.

2 Responses to “So long Kurt Vonnegut Jr…”

  1. Pete, do you remember Rodney Dangerfield as a rich student in Back To School? He hired Kurt Vonnegut to write a report on one of Vonnegut’s own books. The mark wasn’t that high :)

  2. Peter McGarvey says:

    Promod, I remember it. It was almost as funny as the scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen pulls Marshall McLuhan out from behind a poster to help him settle an argument in a movie line.

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